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October 7, 2015

State of Parana Leads Early Soybean Planting in Brazil

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

The weather in Brazil thus far during the spring planting season has been more conducive for planting in southern Brazil than in any other region of the country. Generally, the first soybeans in Brazil are planted in central Mato Grosso, but that has not been the case thus far this planting season. The most advanced soybean planting is in the state of Parana and the farmers in the state are also well advanced in their corn planting.

The Department of Rural Economics for the State of Parana (Deral) reported on Tuesday that 23% of the 2015/16 soybean crop has been planted, which represents an advance of 10% compared to last week and 3% faster than last year at this time. In the neighboring state of Santa Catarina, farmers have planted 15% of their soybeans as well, which is also slightly ahead of average. While the soybean planting is ahead of schedule in southern Brazil, it is behind schedule in central Brazil including the state of Mato Grosso. As a result, the nationwide Brazilian soybean crop is 2-3% planted, which is about average for this date.

Planting of the full-season corn is also advancing ahead of the average pace. Nearly all the full-season corn in Brazil is planted in the southern part of the country and the full-season corn crop in Parana is 50% planted compared to 41% last year at this time. The corn crop in Parana is rated 98% in good condition and 2% in average condition.

The full-season corn acreage in Parana is expected to decline 18% to just 444,000 hectares, which is the smallest acreage since records have been kept (over 40 years). Farmers in the state are opting to switch their corn production to the safrinha crop instead and to plant more early soybeans. The full-season corn production in Parana is expected to be 3.8 million tons compared to 4.6 million tons last year.

The same is happening in the state of Santa Catarina where 50% of the full-season corn has been planted. Farmers in that state are also expected to reduce their full-season corn acreage by 25%. In the state of Rio Grande do Sul the full-season corn is 55% planted and the full-season corn acreage in the state is expected to decline 9%.

The full-season corn crop in Brazil is consumed primarily by the livestock industry, which is concentrated in southern Brazil. Livestock producers are concerned that the reduction in full-season corn acreage could result in higher feed costs due to a lack of corn supplies. The full-season corn crop will only comprise approximately 35% of the total corn crop in Brazil and that percentage is expected to decline even more in 2015/16. Approximately 65% or more of Brazil's corn crop will be grown as a second crop following soybeans and this safrinha corn crop goes mainly into the export market.

Mato Grosso is the largest soybean producing state in Brazil, but plating is off to a slow start in the state due to dry conditions. The soybean crop in Mato Grosso is 2% planted compared to 5% planted last year at this time. The rainfall during September has been the least in the last two years and few areas of the state have enough soil moisture to insure adequate germination and stand establishment. The forecast for the next two weeks does not look very encouraging due to a lack of widespread soaking rains. Mato Grosso is the largest corn producing state in Brazil as well, but virtually all the corn in the state is grown as the second crop.